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Sociology of White Collar Crimes

The term white-collar crime was first introduced by Edwin Sutherland in 1949.It refers to crime that is carried out by those in the more affluent sections of the society often against the interest of the company they work for. In the words of Sutherland, ‘’ white collar crime is a crime committed by a person of respect ability and high social status in course of his occupation.’’ Sutherland also gave examples of white collar crimes like – selling adultered goods, manipulation in stock exchange, evasion of corporate taxes, commercial bribery, tax frauds etc. Some of the crimes that come under the category are

Bank fraud – to engage in an act or pattern of activity where the purpose is to defraud a bank.

Black mail- a demand for money or other consideration under threat to do bodily harm, to injure or to expose the secret.

Bribery – When money, goods, services, information or anything else of value is offered with intent to influence the actions, opinions in one’s favor.

Phone fraud- the unauthorized use, tampering or manipulation of cellular phone service.

Computer fraud- when computer hackers steal information sources contained on computers such as bank information, credit cards proprietary information.

Counterfeiting- occurs when someone copies or initiates an item without having been authorized to do so and passes the copy off for genuine or original item.

Embezzlement- When a person who has been entrusted with money or property appropriates it for his or her own use and benefit.

Credit card fraud- The unauthorized use of credit card to obtain goods of value.

Forgery – When a person passes a false or worthless instrument such as cheque or counterfeit security with the intent to defraud or injure the recipient.

Inside trading – when a person uses inside, confidential or advance information to trade in the shares of publicly held corporations.

White-collar crimes are deliberately, planned crimes because such crime needs planning and executive. They have widened the scope and include in it the occupationally oriented violations committed by a person in any class. The victim of white-collar crimes is normally the whole or part of the society. A white-collar criminal does not always lose his status among associates because it is not considered a violation of the business code. They feel and express contempt of law, for government and for the government officials. In this respect they are similar to many professional criminals. While ordinary criminals are afraid of enforcement agencies, white-collar criminals are rarely so because they think that on being detected they may only be transferred or fined or given a short-term simple imprisonment.

In majority of economic crimes, sentences imposed by the courts are generally mild and drag on for years. Many white-collar offenders bribe the enforcement personnel and thus get out of the clutches of the law. What is required to be done to stop selective prosecution and the malaises of the government.

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